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The Soloist (2009)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 24 April 2009 (USA)
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ON DISC
A newspaper journalist discovers a homeless musical genius and tries to improve his situation.

Director:

Joe Wright

Writers:

Susannah Grant (screenplay), Steve Lopez (book)
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Popularity
4,828 ( 1,824)

Through the Lens of 'Darkest Hour' Director Joe Wright

See how director Joe Wright uses his signature tracking shots to set up a visual narrative for his films, including Atonement, The Soloist, and Hanna.

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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Foxx ... Nathaniel Ayers
Robert Downey Jr. ... Steve Lopez
Catherine Keener ... Mary Weston
Tom Hollander ... Graham Claydon
LisaGay Hamilton ... Jennifer Ayers (as Lisagay Hamilton)
Nelsan Ellis ... David Carter
Rachael Harris ... Leslie Bloom
Stephen Root ... Curt Reynolds
Lorraine Toussaint ... Flo Ayers
Justin Martin ... Young Nathaniel
Kokayi Ampah ... Bernie Carpenter
Patrick Tatten ... Paul Jr.
Susane Lee ... Marisa (as Susane E. Lee)
Marcos De Silvas ... Mayor Villaraigosa
Ilia Volok ... Harry Barnoff
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Storyline

In 2005, the only thing hurting Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez more than his face from a recent bike accident was his pressing need for story ideas. That is when he discovers Nathaniel Ayers, a mentally ill, homeless street musician who possesses extraordinary talent, even through his half-broken instruments. Inspired by his story, Lopez writes an acclaimed series of articles about Ayers and attempts to do more to help both him and the rest of the underclass of LA have a better life. However, Lopez's good intentions run headlong in the hard realities of the strength of Ayers' personal demons and the larger social injustices facing the homeless. Regardless, Lopez and Ayers must find a way to conquer their deepest anxieties and frustrations to hope for a brighter future for both of them. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Life has a mind of its own See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Imagining Beethoven See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,716,458, 26 April 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$31,670,931, 5 July 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color (DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real-life, Ayers had little resistance to the cello teacher, and has remained close friends and protégé of Los Angeles Philharmonic cellists Peter Snyder (the teacher played by Tom Hollander) and Ben Hong. In real-life, Ayers had a lot of resistance to attending the first concert at Disney concert hall. See more »

Goofs

Lopez is seen standing trying to open the drink that was offered by Nathaniel. You then see Lopez leaning against the wall with the can held close to Lopez's body as the camera quickly cuts away between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Construction Worker: [greeting his co-workers] Buen dia, muchachos.
Steve Lopez: [narrating] "Points West" by Steve Lopez. A construction worker in Griffith Park heard the
Steve Lopez: [swerving his bicycle to avoid a raccoon] Hey!
Steve Lopez: [continuing narration] He saw a cyclist cartwheel off his bike and slam face-first into the unforgiving asphalt of Riverside Drive.
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Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits, the music concludes with the sound of a cassette tape grinding to a stop, referencing Lopez's omnipresent recorder. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.189 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Can The Circle Be Unbroken
Written by Ada R. Habershon and Charles Gabriel, often attributed to A.P. Carter
Performed by The Carter Family (as The Original Carter Family)
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Interesting to know
26 April 2009 | by benjybassSee all my reviews

I am a musician and live in France, where the release date of this movie is scheduled for Sept. 2 2009. I obviously cannot write a review at the present time but have nevertheless read the book.

What no one mentions in all of the above comments is that Nathaniel Ayers was originally a Double Bass student at Julliard and NOT a cellist. That instrument-- along with the violin, trumpet, and piano, all came about later on. Put any instrument into his hands and he'll do his best to master it.

Having attended Yale university, I did not know him personally, even though we studied with one of the greatest bass teachers in the New York area at that time: Homer Mensch. Recently our paths did finally cross thanks to one of our mutual acquaintances, bassist and composer Joe Russo. Nathan likes to write down the names of his long lost good friends on walls, or any writing surface, and Joe's name is always there, scribbled amongst his favorites. This was where Steve noticed Joe's name and Googled him to look up his website. A new and close friendship resulted between them, and the many anecdotes that Joe pulled out of Nathan's past were worth their weight in gold to Steve, enough to devote the entire chapter 8 of the book to Joe!

To me, reading this book made me come to the conclusion that every man has his hour in life, and Nathan's time had come now. The chances of 2 men, one homeless and one not, being pulled together through the sound of a violin in a rush hour tunnel, were undoubtedly written in the stars. Through articles, a book and now a film on Nathan, Steve helped uplift a poor and abandoned part of society to a rank that it never imagined nor asked for, but morally deserved. We all know that the Internet is indeed capable of connecting and reconnecting people in the present, but only music can magically, throughout time, open the doors that connect all of us to one another.


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